On Monday morning’s The Morning Stream with Scott Johnson, someone in the chat room asked Stephen Schleicher whether Captain America is as popular in other countries as he is in America, and whether that would be detrimental to the upcoming movie.

Given a) my love for Captain America and b) my love of Australia, where I was born and have lived my whole life, I figured I would take it upon myself to offer up some answers of my own.

Sitting on my bookshelves are two of the currently three available Captain America omnibus editions featuring the work of Ed Brubaker, arguably one of the better storylines Captain America has seen over his 70 year career, and in my opinion, probably part of the reason there was such a push for the Captain America: the First Avenger movie.

And it seems to me, after having read so much, that Captain America is much less about the “America” than he is about being “the First Avenger.”

Take a look at just two of the storylines that have featured Captain America over the past decade;

  • After Avengers Disassembled, he is working for S.H.I.E.L.D., an agency very much outside the jurisdiction of the United States
  • Civil War happens, and Captain America is firmly against the country he loves

Now, fair point, Rogers is now back working as a lackey for the government, but I do think my point stands: Steve Rogers – we’re not going to quibble about who the real Captain America is, are we? – is an Avenger, first and foremost, and American pinup boy second (or fourth?).

Even back in his original days, Cap was less about being an American and more about the being one of the Allies; fighting Nazis and the Red Skull were his priority, all the posters and pinups for America came second to that.

And that’s my point.

When I read Captain America, I’m reading about Steve Rogers, first Avenger, hero of the Marvel Universe, and the guy that pretty much everybody who is a hero looks up to. You’ve only got to look at the way that Clint Barton idolizes the man to get an idea of what the character is really about.

Unlike Superman, Cap has never been about apple pies and the real American way (or however that one goes); he’s the hero of the Marvel Universe rather than the hero of our modern day America, and that’s, more or less, how he’s always been portrayed, especially with Ed Brubaker writing him.

So am I excited for the movie?

Oh hell yes!

Putting aside the awesomeness of the trailers we’ve been seeing, and the fact that Hugo Weaving pretty much ensures success at every turn, being able to see Captain “Steve Rogers” America up on the big screen, punching Nazis and fighting the Red Skull is exactly what comic book movies should be about. I’m not going because I’m a diehard fan of the good ol’ US of A, but rather because Steve Rogers and Captain America, together, represent what comic fans want in a story; a hero, going beyond their limits, for what is right.

The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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10 Comments

  1. TaZ
    May 25, 2011 at 10:44 am — Reply

    In many ways your thoughts on this are very much on point. However, as an old Cap fan going back to the late 60’s Steve Rogers has always been portrayed as the very best example of “The Greatest Generation” of Americans long before that phrase was coined. The character is the embodiment of what is heroic, good and noble of the American ideal which was clear at few points in history as during the hell that was World War II. Steve has been portrayed as a hero, patriot, solider, freedom fighter, activist, radical, social commentator, insurgent, rebel, idealist, depressed, disillusioned and resilient. In short, all the things that Americans are and experience. He has been the mirror of what was good about the United States at the times of his adventures and at times what faults we’ve shown to the rest of the world as well. While he’s still a “hero for the world”, Steve Rogers is a character that more accurately is the “face” of America that we’d like the world to see and a tribute to the men and women of a time when all the free nations of the world stood with character and resolve.

    • Allen
      May 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm — Reply

      I think it’s rare to see our modern media portray a guy who is a straight down the line, hard working, idealistic hero. I agree with you. Cap should be a tribute to those who served and still serve us in uniform. I think recent “heroes” such as the new Captain Kirk, basically being an undisciplined jerk who is still glorified and gers a command, are a slap in the face to the many who go out and serve and protect us every day.

      If Cap is seen as a strictly American hero I am OK with that.

    • Joshua S Hill
      May 26, 2011 at 5:08 am — Reply

      I think my point is made right here; those things might represent America, but not just America. The idea that only Americans can have the qualities that Captain America has is what turns people off from Americans, not Captain America. Cap is representative of those things, sure, but those things aren’t representative of only America.

      • Joshua S Hill
        May 26, 2011 at 5:10 am — Reply

        sigh – screwed up the HTML on this one.

  2. George Mathew
    May 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    Look, I’m all for a movie that portrays an ideal epic Hero, American or not. I don’t think it will hurt the movie because Cap’s appeal is global, beyond the US.

    Cap’s the underdog who’s been downtrodden in the past, yet somehow perseveres through a life-changing event to be the kind of hero he wished had been there to help him, and save others. That’s true whether you’re talking Cap, or Arjuna in the Mahabharatha.

    We identify with Cap because, as other have said, he represents what we want America to be – someone who defends the oppressed around the world for the right reasons, not just because it’s possible or part of a global political game. It’s corny, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    Even in the comics, Cap broke off ties with the government when he didn’t agree with it – why should he be only associated with the US?

  3. Dravis
    May 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm — Reply

    Many years ago, I helped open a restaurant in Dublin, Ireland.
    “Captain America’s Cookhouse and Bar”.
    They remembered him from the “War Years”… and there are several more Pub/Diners by the same name now.
    The SPIRIT of “Captain America” is larger than Batman, Spider-man, and maybe not Superman.
    Alaska, Australia… everywhere I have worked as a chef, the tattoo of his original battle-shield on my left bicep has never shamed me.
    On ship, with Iranians in the late 70’s… they all knew the shield… and the idea of a soldier behind it!

    • Allen
      May 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm — Reply

      Wow, dude. If you blog about your life story send me the link ASAP. Sounds like you’ve been around.

  4. Slappy
    May 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm — Reply

    I think we should invade Australia. How hard could it be?
    The most advanced arsenal (No Roy) the world has ever known vs. Boomerangs. Granted the Kangas and Roos could give some troops a pounding, but if Disney allows it, SEAL Team 6 can handle that.

    • Bob
      May 28, 2011 at 3:47 am — Reply

      See, now to me that’s the ‘true’ face of America.

  5. Exile
    September 3, 2011 at 8:37 am — Reply

    About invading Australia there are a few problems, here take a look.

    Warning: TV TROPES.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/AussiesWithArtillery?from=Main.AussiesWithArtillery

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